Mayor Ras Baraka, Luke James and Producer Jerry Wonda Demand Change On “What We Want II”

ras baraka, luke james

Luke James, Mayor Ras Baraka and Jerry Wonda craft a powerful song for this era of struggle and prosperity.

Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, New Jersey has a powerful message to deliver on the cusp of our national election. Known primarily as an educator, author and politician, the Mayor also uses spoken word and music as a form of expression.  He recently collaborated with renowned Grammy award-winning producer Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis to produce a five-track spoken word EP album entitled “What We Want“.  The title track and video from the EP were launched this summer and the video has already received more than 1,000,000 views across the web. “What We Want Part 2” is the next chapter in this story and with the addition of triple threat Luke James, the “What We Want” movement will surely reach an even broader audience.”What We Want Part 2″, is a riveting, rhythmic, thought-provoking message that artfully addresses systemic oppression and social injustices. According to Mayor Ras Baraka” Art is everything. It is perspective, it is creativity, imagination and it is hope.

“Art conveys ideas and drives intention. Everything I do is grounded in art and poetic expression. George Floyd’s death affected me first as a Black man and as a human being. The fight for our humanity is still not resolved in this country after centuries of struggle. We are still trying to make people see that we are in fact human beings, that we deserve to be afforded the same rights and privileges as other Americans and the right to live to grow and to express our being human unfettered without obstruction complication or murder. As a mayor, it has become even more complex. I am in charge of the police the agency that has been the wall of white supremacy, and in Newark, we are challenging that notion, reconstructing that idea, and re-imagining our department through, training, diverting funds, partnering with community-based anti-violence groups, trauma circles, and community roundtables.”

According to Jerry Wonda “What We Want” is not just an ordinary song. “It’s a reflection of our times. With all that’s going with the global economy, our communities, and Black Lives Matter, this song is a vital reminder of the wants, needs, and reality of the global community. It’s time, and if someone can hear this now and it will move them to vote, that’s great. Your vote is your voice. That’s what’s needed. We need to come together. It’s like what Ras Baraka said, Get Up.”

The video for “What We Want Part 2” was shot earlier this year on the steps of Newark’s historic City Hall.

Listen to the Full What We Want EP